Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Outdid Spider-Man: No Way Home in One Massive Way

The following contains major spoilers for Sonic the Hedgehog 2, now playing in theaters.

In Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Ben Schwartz returns to voice the beloved title character, once more aiming to save the world from Jim Carrey's Doctor Robotnik. The villain found his way back to Earth, with Knuckles (Idris Elba) as his partner, intent on finding the Master Emerald and killing his blue-quilled nemesis. What benefited them was that Sonic hadn't learned much about being a hero, and still carried on in a juvenile manner.

It led to Tom (James Marsden) growing worried about his adoptive alien son, making it clear he needed to be better mentally, rather than simply relying on his raw abilities and being lax about the damage done. In the process, as Sonic learned a much-needed lesson, the sequel carved out a key arc that one-upped Spider-Man: No Way Home in a massive way.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Easter Eggs 3

This has to do with No Way Home's big Uncle Ben moment. In Spider-Man lore, from comics to cartoons to the previous movies, Ben's speech was a foundational pillar, reminding Peter Parker that "with great power, comes great responsibility." The Marvel Cinematic Universe didn't have a Ben, though, which paved the way for Aunt May to deliver the line just after Green Goblin fatally wounded her.

That was a heartbreaking moment, but it was nevertheless frustrating because it came so late. It felt reactive, as if the franchise was simply attempting to appease fans rather than weaving the iconic line earlier into Peter Parker's journey. No Way Home simply blew the opportunity to have May pass on this sage advice and watch her nephew execute it, making her proud and subverting the clichéd act a mentor handing down the wisdom, only to then die.

Sonic 2 eschews that trope with its own Uncle Ben moment. It first occurred early on, when Tom took Sonic on a fishing trip. He revealed he knew Sonic was moonlighting as a vigilante, which explained why he was always so tired. But Tom made it clear, Sonic was a kid, and not ready for the rigors of crime-fighting. It wasn't because he was physically lacking, however; it was because he didn't take a mature approach to understanding his abilities, and how his actions could harm innocents -- as evidenced when Sonic foiling a bank robbery in the opening act caused collateral damage on the scale of a Zack Snyder film.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Tom's words, "It isn't about taking care of yourself; it's about being responsible for others," inspired Sonic to improve as a hero in the finale. This mantra drove him to risk his life and rescue Knuckles from drowning after Robotnik betrayed his former partner and stole the gem, enabling him to up to become a dark cosmic god. Apart from changing himself, Sonic's words then convinced Knuckles to switch sides to stop Robotnik, thus, making Tom's advice -- something his deceased dad ironically passed down -- a much more potent symbol of light and hope.

As such, the remixed Uncle Ben line produced a more nuanced arc, with Sonic quickly becoming a young mentor and kick-starting an unlikely alliance to take down Robotnik. To top it off, Tom remained alive to witness it happen, allowing him to extend his family, inviting Tails and Knuckles to learn with Sonic and perfect their heroic ambitions.

To see how the Uncle Ben line becomes a movement, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is now in theaters.

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